Alexander Graham Bell. March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922. Scientist, inventor and businessman, one of the founders of telephony.


Life and Work:

1. “When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.” The author of this quote opened an amazing door to a new world for us.


2. The first Moscow telephone exchange, which opened in 1882, was built by the international telephone society, which bore the female name Bella. It could also be called Alexandra – also in honor of the same person, Alexander Graham Bell, who went down in history as the inventor of the telephone.


3. His biography is full of strange convergences and surprising paradoxes. He was born in Scotland and died in Nova Scotia, Canada, taught at a school for the deaf, and invented the telephone, which the deaf cannot use.


4. His grandfather, father, and uncle were specialists in public speaking and taught it. By the way, it was the system of Melville Bell, Alexander’s father, that the hero of Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw used to teach Eliza Doolittle not to say “Wow.”


5. Alexander followed the family path: he studied literature and public speaking, acoustics, and physics of human speech. After leaving school in Edinburgh, he lived in London with his grandfather for a year. Long hours of serious discussions greatly influenced the entire future life of the scientist and inventor.


6. At the age of 16, Alexander Bell took up a position as a teacher of eloquence and music at Weston House Academy. In parallel, he was listed as a student there – he studied Latin and Greek.


7. Alexander Bell studied at the University of Edinburgh for a year and was about to continue his studies in London, but a terrible tragedy befell the family: one after another, two Bell’s brothers died of tuberculosis. Alexander’s health also required a change of climate, and the Bells moved overseas.


8. The Bell family bought a farm with outbuildings near the town of Brandford, Ontario. In the estate, Alexander created his first real workshop, which he called “a dreaming place.”


9. Alexander Bell began to invent back when he lived in his homeland, where he also conducted his first experiments with sound and its transmission.


10. There is joke that Bell got tired of visiting his friends to share the latest news, so he invented the telephone. Famous physicist Joseph Henry provided significant assistance to him, and when Bell became famous, he also was very supportive of young inventors.


11. As Bell later recounted, “I was struck with the remarkable disproportion in weight between the membrane and the bones that were vibrated by it. It occurred to me that if a membrane as thin as tissue paper could control the vibration of bones...” It occurred to him, and Bell designed an apparatus for transmitting sound over a distance.


12. March 10, 1876: Bell’s young assistant, Thomas Watson, received a call from his boss, who spilled acid on his trousers: “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” The assistant rushed to the rescue, knocking over the chairs, and found Bell with his trousers taken off, but in a state of deep euphoria: he was heard! A couple of hundred lawsuits for copyright infringement did not spoil the triumph: Bell won them.


13. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his brainchild at the World’s Fair in Philadelphia. It was there and then that he called his talking telegraph “a telephone.” The jury was shocked: Mr. Bell was not nearby, he was in another room. But the inventor’s voice was clearly heard from the strange contraption. With all his oratorical skill, he said, “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” Hamlet’s monolog, read over the phone, convinced the incredulous – the device worked.


14. He never called his wife on the phone, which is not surprising: Bell married his student at a school for the deaf-mute. Actually, he did not use his own brainchild often, arguing that messages can wait, but not ideas.


15. On the day of Alexander Bell’s funeral, all thirteen million telephones in the United States and Canada went silent for a minute.


16. Today, Bell’s priority is challenged by a resolution of the US Congress. They proved that the Italian Antonio Meucci tried to patent the phone five years earlier than Bell, but failed to achieve recognition. However, there is no reason to suspect Bell of plagiarism. Ideas hang in the air – this has long been known.


17. We believe that Alexander Graham Bell invented only the telephone, but this is not true. Bell himself considered photophone to be his most significant invention. It was a device for transmitting sounds by means of light – in clearer terms, the world’s first wireless telephone.


18. Among Bell’s other inventions are one of the world’s first metal detectors, a hydrofoil boat, and even an airplane beautifully named Silver Dart. Among other things, he experimented with bio-toilets, and shortly before his death, in a magazine interview, he mentioned the possibility of using solar panels to heat homes.


19. Alexander Graham Bell was a long-time chairman of the National Geographic Society of the United States. On his initiative, they began to publish the now famous National Geographic magazine.


20. Today, Graham Bell is located in the Arctic Ocean – the easternmost island in the Franz Josef Land archipelago bears the name of the great scientist and inventor.